Hortus Miscellaneous is a handsome little volume, described as, “A Gardener’s Hodgepodge of Information and Instruction.” The authors have collected fascinating, amusing, and useful knowledge, trivia, and facts related to gardening, and gleaned from history, cooking, pop-culture, literature, science, and folklore. There is no discernable order or form to the way the tidbits are arranged; this random presentation only adds to the overall whimsical effect. Some of the entries will bring a smile: the list of how famous plant collectors died—or almost died. Some are simply intriguing: the longest word in the English language (the scientific name of tobacco mosaic virus, covering most of a page). Some are quite useful: a recipe for mojitos, a list of uses for lemon juice, and the plant list from the famous white garden at Sissinghurst. My favorite may be the instructions for making your own tire crown planter; I will remember this one when I retire to a trailer park.
With the holidays approaching, we are always on the lookout for great gifts for gardeners. This book will surely delight all who leaf through its pages. Just try not to read it cover to cover yourself before you stuff that stocking.
Steve Gerischer, garden designer and educator
Los Angeles, California